Bowie Knife

Production date
Circa 1863
The Bowie knife was named after U.S. Col. J. Bowie. This type of knife was traditionally carried by Californian miners. It was introduced in New Zealand by G.F. von Tempsky and carried by the Forest Rangers. Used in the military battles of the Waikato and Taranaki Campaigns during the 1860's.

This knife belonged to Private John Andrew Higginson, one time batman to G.F. von Tempsky (member of 5th Division Armed Constabulary in 1868) and family tradition states that von Tempsky gave the knife to Higginson just prior to the battle of Te Ngutu o te Manu 7 September1868.

The knife blade has apparently been shortened and was previously about 2 inches longer. The handle is made of horn and the blade and hilt of steel. It has a short handle and the horn is riveted to the blade with three brass rivets. The handle is decorated with a criss-cross pattern.
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Object detail

Production date
Circa 1863
Handle, horn
Blade and hilt, steel
Brass rivets
Handle decorated with a criss-cross pattern
Length: 350mm
Width: 62mm ( blade handle)
Max width (blade): 32mm
Max depth (blade): 6mm
Length (blade): 222mm
Production place
Department collection type
Credit line
Collection of Waikato Museum Te Whare Taonga o Waikato
Accession number


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